Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs)

As with the title IV-E foster care eligibility reviews, the Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSRs) are a partnership between State and Federal staff. They began as part of a new approach to monitoring State child welfare programs that focuses on results in the areas of safety, permanency, and child and family well-being. The CFSRs measure State compliance under titles IV-B and IV-E by looking at different factors.

For the first two rounds, the CFSRs reviewed State child welfare programs in two areas.

  • Outcomes for children and families served by the child welfare system
  • Systemic factors that directly affect the State’s capacity to deliver services leading to improved outcomes

As with other monitoring vehicles, the CFSRs use multiple information sources, gathered in separate phases, to assess States’ performance. The Statewide Assessment was the first phase of the CFSR and was conducted by a State child welfare agency in collaboration with the agency’s external partners or stakeholders and the Children’s Bureau Central and Regional Office staff. Central and Regional Office staff prepared and transmitted profiles to each State that have aggregate data on the State's foster care and in-home service populations, including the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). These profiles provided an overall picture of how well the State is performing. The States and their external partners then completed the Statewide Assessment to evaluate further the programmatic issues behind the statewide data in the areas of safety, permanency, and well-being for children.  

There were two parts to the second phase, the Onsite Review Instrument (OSRI) and the Stakeholder Interview Guide (SIG). Both were completed by a joint Federal-State team. The OSRI evaluated outcomes by examining a sample of children receiving in-home services and those in foster care. The team did so by reviewing the case records and by interviewing family members, caretakers, caseworkers, and service providers. The SIG used stakeholder interviews to evaluate system performance in specific areas, such as the foster home licensing process or the array of services available.

Both the quantitative and qualitative data from the Statewide Assessment and the OSRI were used to determine the State's compliance on the outcomes and systemic factors. Reports on the findings from rounds 1 and 2 can be read at The Children’s Bureau is currently looking at revising the CFSRs for round 3.